Cultivating Intersectional Communities of Practice: A Case Study of the New Mexico Statewide Race, Gender, Class Data Policy Consortium as a Convergence Space for Co-creating Intersectional Inquiry, Ontologies, Data Collection, and Social Justice Praxis

  • Nancy LópezEmail author
  • Michael O’Donnell
  • Lucas Pedraza
  • Carmela Roybal
  • Jeffrey Mitchell
Part of the The Politics of Intersectionality book series (POLI)


How can intersectional scholar activists and practitioners cultivate communities of practice that embrace intersectional ontologies and knowledge projects for the advancement of equity and social justice? What role can ongoing critical self-reflexivity about ethical inquiry, data collection, analysis, and praxis (action and reflection) play in advancing and institutionalizing intersectional social justice transformations? The purpose of this chapter is to provide a case study of the work of the New Mexico Statewide Race, Gender, Class Data Policy Consortium as an example of a convergence space for communities of practice committed to intersectionality as a social justice praxis. Using United States Census and American Community (ACS) Survey data on New Mexico, the authors showcase how an intersectional lens can yield more complex portraits of intersecting inequalities in education and income in a given sociohistorical context. The chapter ends with policy recommendations for the creation of legislation that requires intersectional data infrastructure and analysis as the new “gold standard.”



A previous version of this chapter was circulated in the Sociology of Education Section Newsletter of the American Sociological Association (ASA): López, Nancy. 2015. “An Invitation to a Dialogue About Establishing. Statewide Race, Gender, Class Data Policy Consortia,” American Sociological Association Sociology of Education Section Newsletter. Spring, 18(2):4 as well as my opening remarks at the Race, Gender Class Conference in New Orleans published in López, Nancy. 2016b. “Want Equity? Consider Establishing a Statewide Race, Gender, Class Data Policy Consortium for Social Justice Research, Policy and Practice,” Race, Gender, Class, 23 (1–2):132–150. We are also indebted to Dr Gabriel Sanchez and staff at the Health Policy Research Center as well as to the Sociology Department at The University of New Mexico for in-kind support for Institute and Consortium activities. We deeply appreciate Dr Lawrence Roybal’s efforts as interim VP for the Division of Equity and Inclusion at the University of New Mexico, as he has generously provided funding for food at several of our Consortium meetings. We want to make a special acknowledgement of all the work Leanne Yanabu has done in creating and maintain our website: And finally we would like to thank Dr Olena Hankivsky and Dr Julia Jordan-Zachery as well as anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on this chapter. Their leadership in intersectionality scholarship and praxis has inspired much of this work.


  1. African American Policy Forum (AAPF). (2015). A Primer on Intersectionality. New York: African American Policy Forum (AAPF).Google Scholar
  2. Baca Zinn, M., & Thornton Dill, B. (1993). Women of Color in US Society. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Baca Zinn, M. B., Cannon, L. W., Higginbotham, E., & Dill, B. T. (1986). The Costs of Exclusionary Practices in Women’s Studies. Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society, 11(2), 290–303.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bowleg, L. (2008). The Methodological Challenges of Qualitative and Quantitative Intersectionality Research. Sex Roles, 59, 312–325.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Chapman, R., & Berggren, J. (2005). Radical Contextualization: Contributions to an Anthropology of Racial/Ethnic Health Disparities. Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness, and Medicine, 9(2), 145–167.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Collins, P. H. (2007). Pushing the Boundaries or Business as Usual? Race, Class, and Gender Studies and Sociological Inquiry. In C. Calhoun (Ed.), Sociology in America (pp. 572–604). Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  7. Collins, P. H. (2009). Black Feminist Thought: Knowledge, Consciousness, and the Politics of Empowerment. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Collins, P. H., & Bilge, S. (2016). Intersectionality. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar
  9. Covarrubias, A. (2011). Quantitative Intersectionality: A Critical Race Analysis of te Chicana/o Educational Pipeline. Journal of Latinos and Education, 10(2), 86–105.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Crenshaw, K. (1991). Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence against Women of Color. Stanford Law Review, 43(6), 1241–1299.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Davis, D., Brunn-Bevel, R., & Olive, J. (2015). Intersectionality in Educational Research. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing, LLC. by Dannielle Joy.Google Scholar
  12. DeLeon, J., Katira, K., López, N., & Valenzuela, N. (2017). Navigating Resistance to Antiracist and Anti-oppressive Curriculum in a Diverse Public University: Critical Race Theory, the Fetish of ‘Good Intentions’ and Social Justice Praxis. International Journal of Curriculum and Social Justice, 1(2), 11–68.Google Scholar
  13. Falcon, S. (2016). Power Interrupted: Antiracist and Feminist Activism Inside the United Nations. Seattle, WA: University of Washington.Google Scholar
  14. Fine, M., & Weis, L. (1998). The Unknown City: Lives of Poor and Low Income Young Adults. Albany, NY: State University of New York.Google Scholar
  15. Gómez, L. (2007). Manifest Destinies: The Making of the Mexican American Race. New York: New York University.Google Scholar
  16. Gómez, L. (2018). The Making of the Mexican American Race. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Gonzales, P. B. (2016). Política: Nuevomexicanos and American Political Incorporation, 1821–1910. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hamilton, D., Darity, W., Price, A., Sridharan, V., & Tippett, R. (2015). Umbrellas Don’t Make It Rain: Why Studying and Working Hard Isn’t Enough for Black Americans. Cook Center for Social Equity. Durham, NC: Duke University.Google Scholar
  19. Hancock, A. M. (2016). Intersectionality: An Intellectual History. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Hankivsky, O., & Cormier, R. (2011). Intersectionality and Public Policy: Some Lessons from Existing Models. Political Research Quarterly, 64(1), 217–229.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Hardy-Fanta, C., Lien, P., Pinderhuges, D., & Sierra, C. (2016). Contested Transformation: Race, Gender and Political Leadership in 21st Century America. Cambridge, MA: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Hixson, W. (2013). American Settler Colonialism: A History. New York: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Hogan, H. (2017). Race Reporting Among Hispanics: Analysis of ACS Data. Frontiers of Applied Demography. D. A. Swanson, editor. The Frontiers of Applied Demography, Applied Demography Series 9. Scholar
  24. Huyser, K., Sakamoto, A., & Takei, I. (2009). The Persistence of Racial Disadvantage: The Socioeconomic Attainments of Single-Race and Multi-Race Native Americans. Population Research and Policy Review, 29(4), 541–598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Johnson, R. G., III, Rivera, M., & López, N. (2017). Social Movements and the Need for a Trans Ethics Approach to LGBTQ Homeless Youth. Public Integrity, 19, 1–14 Scholar
  26. Jordan-Zachery, J. (2013). Now You See Me, Now You Don’t: My Political Fight Against the Invisibility/Erasure of Black Women in Intersectionality Research. Politics, Groups, Identity, 1(1), 101–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Krizsan, A., Skjeie, H., & Squires, J. (2012). Institutionalizing Intersectionality: The Changing Nature of European Inequality Regimes. New York: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. LaVeist-Ramos, T. A., Galarraga, J., Thorpe, R. J., Bell, C. N., & Austin, C. J. (2011). Are Black Hispanics Black or Hispanic? Exploring Disparities at the Intersection of Race and Ethnicity. Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, 66(7), e21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. López, N. (2013). Contextualizing Lived Race-Gender and the Racialized Gendered Social Determinants of Health. In L. Gómez & N. López (Eds.), Mapping “Race”: Critical Approaches to Health Disparities Research (pp. 179–211). Piscataway, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  30. López, N. (2016a). Ethical Accuracy for Civil Rights. Memo to Office of Management and Budget and Census. Retrieved October 29, 2016, from
  31. López, N. (2016b). Want Equity? Consider Establishing a Statewide Race, Gender, Class Data Policy Consortium for Social Justice Research, Policy and Practice. Race, Gender, Class Journal, 23(1–2), 132–150.Google Scholar
  32. López, N. (2018, February 28). The US Census Bureau Keeps Confusing Race and Ethnicity. The Conversation. Retrieved from; Republished in Salon, Associated Press, Newsela for teachers in K-12 Instructional Online Platform.
  33. López, N., & Gadsden, V. L. (2017). Health Inequities, Social Determinants, and Intersectionality. In K. Bogard, et al. (Ed.), Perspectives on Health Equity and Social Determinants of Health. Washington, DC: National Academy of Medicine. Retrieved February 28, 2018, from
  34. López, N., Erwin, C., Binder, M., & Chavez, M. (2017a). Making the Invisible Visible: Advancing Quantitative Methods Through Critical Race Theory and Intersectionality for Revealing Complex Race-Gender-Class Inequalities in Higher Education, 1980–2015. Special Issue: QuantCrit: Critical Race Theory and Quantitative Research Methods, Race, Ethnicity and Education. Scholar
  35. López, N., Vargas, E., Juarez, M., Cacari-Stone, L., & Bettez, S. (2017b). What’s Your “Street Race”? Leveraging Multidimensional Measures of Race and Intersectionality for Examining Physical and Mental Health Status among Latinxs. Sociology of Race and Ethnicity. Scholar
  36. Martinez, G. (2010). Native Pride: The Politics of Curriculum and Instruction in an Urban Public School. New York: Hampton Press.Google Scholar
  37. Massey, D. S., & Denton, N. A. (1993). American Apartheid: Segregation and the Making of the Underclass. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  38. McCall, L. (2001). Complex Intersectionality: Gender, Class and Race in the New Economy. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  39. McCall, L. (2005). The Complexity of Intersectionality. Signs: Journal of Women, Culture and Society, 40(1), 1771–1800.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Nakano Glenn, E. (2015). Settler Colonialism as Structure: A Framework for Comparative Studies of U.S. Race and Gender Formation. Sociology of Race and Ethnicity, 1, 52–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Nieto-Phillips, J. (2008). The Language of Blood: The Making of Spanish-American Identity in New Mexico. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press.Google Scholar
  42. Saenz, R., & Morales, M. C. (2015). Latinos in the U.S.: Diversity and Change. Malden, MA: Policy Press.Google Scholar
  43. Telles, E. (2015). Pigmentocracies. Chapel Hill, NC: University of North Carolina Press.Google Scholar
  44. Viruell-Fuentes, E. A., Miranda, P. Y., & Abdulrahim, S. (2012). More than Culture: Structural Racism, Intersectionality Theory, and Immigrant Health. Social Science and Medicine, 75(12), 2099–2106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Weber, L. (2010). “Defining Contested Concepts” in Understanding Race, Class, Gender and Sexuality: A Conceptual Framework (pp. 23–43). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  46. Zambrana, R. (2018). Toxic Ivory Towers: The Consequences of Work Stress on Underrepresented Minority Faculty. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nancy López
    • 1
    Email author
  • Michael O’Donnell
    • 1
  • Lucas Pedraza
    • 2
  • Carmela Roybal
    • 1
  • Jeffrey Mitchell
    • 1
  1. 1.The University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA
  2. 2.Barelas Community CoalitionAlbuquerqueUSA

Personalised recommendations